How to Avoid an ERP Implementation Failure
Finding and implementing a modern ERP system that will support your business from end to end is a necessity for manufacturers looking to stay competitive. When companies have a bad ERP implementation experience, the problem isn’t in the software, it’s in the way companies implement and adapt to that software. Although, organizations typically don’t understand this at first. It is human nature to blame the software, not the users. If you are looking to implement an ERP software, there are a few things your organization can do to ensure your implementation goes smoothly.
- Set realistic goals. ERP implementations take lots of time and lots of money. There are no if, and, or buts about it. Fooling yourself into thinking you found a way to do it quicker and cheaper, is setting your project up for failure before you even begin. You need to work with your ERP Consultant on appropriately setting a project schedule, complete with milestones, that works for both parties. Setting an appropriate budget is a little trickier. You need to ensure that you include an appropriate number of hours for training and extra support. You need to also understand what add-ons or customization you are going to require and make sure the fees for those are also included. One of the areas implementations fail is not having enough support and training hours to fully get your team trained on the new software. If you budget appropriately for it up front, you are more apt to take advantage of the prepaid hours.
- Establish a team and set business processes. Unless you are a large enough organization with extra staff hanging around, you are going to have to appoint employees to do double duty for awhile. Choose a large enough ERP project team that can give you the appropriate amount of hours needed to get things done without disrupting the flow of your business. You need to also choose employees that give you a wide variety of job duties and business knowledge as well. Make sure you choose C-level employees, all the way down to a newer employee. This project team becomes your ERP champions and will help spread the knowledge and enthusiasm for the new software throughout your organization. Once you have your team in place, you need to make sure everyone is clear on your business processes and how to use the ERP software to accomplish those goals.
- Optimize business processes. Business processes need to be implemented and followed in order for your business to run effectively. Implementing a new software does not change this goal, it may only change the way you go about it. Anytime you implement a new software, there are things that need changed to accommodate using a different software. Don’t neglect following your business processes and don’t hesitate to adjust your business processes to best maximize the benefits of the software.
- Ensure ongoing employee adoption rate. If you have followed the top 3 tips, then the last one should be easy to carry out. You must fully train your employees on the new system and what daily changes they must make to their routine. To fully stay aligned with your business processes, employees should understand how important accurate and complete information in your ERP system is to your business. An ERP system can only provide information and reports based on the data inputted. You need to ensure you employees abandon paper reports, duplicate reporting, and any software that can prevent them from using the ERP system regularly. You should schedule interval training and check-ins to ensure that they have not stopped using the new system and reverted back to their old ways.
ERP implementations are challenging, but following the above tips can help ensure yours becomes a success. The last tip I will leave you with is that in addition to following all of the above tips, you should also choose your partner very carefully. You want someone who is going to support your implementation and do everything they can to ensure it’s successful. 2W Tech is a Certified Epicor ERP partner and would be happy to discuss your ERP needs with you.